Structuring Fashion

Department Stores as Situating Spatial Practice

Daniel Koch

ISBN 9789197590181

Far from passive containers or neutral fields where particular objects are to be desired, bought, and sold, department stores constitute spaces formative for both shopping behaviour and culture. In the constantly changing environment, in an interplay between retail strategies and responses to customer behaviour, a negotiation is going on of what and who is of importance, who is to be given exposure, and what needs to be hidden. As such, department stores form intricate examples of how shopping spaces are sites of negotiation of public culture, and of reproducing or creating norms and ideas in society.

Inspired by the work of Baudrillard and Butler, Wigley, and Williamson, this book investigates how department stores work as situating structures, in which we not only find what we want, but what we should want, who we are, how our society is arranged, and our role in it—an investigation that challenges our understanding of architecture and planning as well as of society in general.